Education Welfare Service (EWS)
What is the Education Welfare Service?
All children of compulsory school age should receive suitable education, either by regular attendance at school or other means. If a child is registered at school, parents are responsible for ensuring that their child attends regularly.
Where necessary, a Local Education Authority (LEA), such as the London Borough of Bexley, has a duty under Section 437 of the Education Act 1996, to serve a School Attendance Order on a parent in order to ensure that children of compulsory school age receive suitable education.
The Government's priority is to reduce the level of absences - both authorised and unauthorised.
The London Borough of Bexley focuses on achieving these targets through its Education Welfare Service (EWS).
Additionally, the EWS carries out the Council's responsibility to monitor and licence child employment, children in entertainment and matrons (chaperones).
What does the service provide?
- Direct in-school support for individual children whose attendance is giving cause for concern
- Home to school liaison, including home visits
- Community action to combat truancy eg. sweeps and swoops
- Collaborative projects
- Court action where necessary (Section 444 (1) and (1a) 1996 Education Act)
- Overseeing of Education Supervision Orders (Section 36 of the Children's Act 1989)
- Contact with families to advise on exclusion procedures and management of data on exclusions
- Child employment and performance licences
- Links and liaison with the Elective Home Education Service advisers
- Advice on child protection issues
- The issuing of fixed penalty notices in accordance with their code of practice
How is the service provided?
A named Education Welfare Officer (EWO) is assigned to each school buying into Bexley's Education Welfare Service. Some schools now opt to buy private attendance monitoring services instead. Individual schools will be able to advise on whether they use Bexley's EWS or not.
Schools using Bexley's EWS are visited at regular intervals - either weekly, fortnightly, monthly or half-termly, depending on the needs of the individual school.
Bexley's EWOs work in partnership with schools, parents and others in order to support the attendance of children at school. They are supported by colleagues within the team who have specialisms or lead responsibilities. Successful outcomes depend upon effective collaboration and the commitment of all concerned..
A referral system for EWS intervention exists and schools will follow this to ensure efficient and effective use of resources.
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